View Full Version : Ruger Old Army Conicals?

April 5, 2005, 11:17 PM
I found an SS old style (adjustable sight) 7" Old Army in a gun shop today. Walked out the door with it but without $295. I don't know if that's such a great deal, but I couldn't pass it up.

Looks like it's been handled/carried a lot (???) but never shot. I removed about 99% of the wear/scratches with some 600 grit sandpaper and it looks pretty slick now. That's one reason I love stainless guns. :D

Does anyone know if the rifling in these revolvers is sufficient to stabilize anything but a ball? I was playing with the thought of hunting with it...

BTW, this is my first BP gun for all practical purposes (had one years ago but only shot it once) so silly questions will no doubt follow. :o

novus collectus
April 5, 2005, 11:34 PM
I heard that even if you could find a mold for the conicals that they are innaccrurate. I am not sure why, but I can tell you what I heard. One reason was that the conicals have a smaller bearing surface than balls and can "cock" slightly in the barrel. The other reason I heard is because of the ramrod cannot seat it evenly and so it becomes "cocked" in the cylinder. Personally, I think that conicals are innacurate because of airodynamics. But I have never found the conicals for sale and so I cannot tell you how accurrate they are since I have never fired a conical bullet in any of my BP pistols.

April 6, 2005, 02:32 AM
Dixie Gun Works sells Buffalo Pistol Bullets in .45 cal. (.457 dia.) that look like Buffalo Ballets for rifles. Their catalog features 1 review by a pistol shooter for the same bullet design except for a .36 cal pistol (.375 dia. - #BT 0606):

The .45 cal bullets can be located on this page and are item # BT 1201:

Their home page is located here:

novus collectus
April 6, 2005, 08:24 AM
Can you use a .457 bullet in a revolver designed for .454 bullets? Will it just shave off the excess when you ram it home? The reason I ask is that I couldn't find a mold for conical bullets or conical bullets themselves in .454 and I can't tell if the Lyman mold is for .45 BP rifles, is conical, and if it is for BP revolvers or if it is for cartridges.

April 6, 2005, 02:46 PM
I don't know since I don't have a revolver. The Buffalo Bullets are sort of
crosshatched around the bullet body, so it's not going to be shaving off a lot of solid lead. If you can't find the right .454 pure lead bullets, you can consider sizing the bullets first with a sizer. But the Ruger does have a .457 bore.

April 6, 2005, 09:03 PM
The Lee catalog has a mold, # 456-220-1R, designed for the Ruger BP revolver, I have the mold and bump it up slightly, add a gas check, and use it for repelling murderous beer cans with my .45-70 Handi Rifle, I get 1225fps with 13gr Herco and 1600fps with 25gr H110, a really nice plinker load.
I use either liquid alox or LBT soft blue lube, sardine can application method.
Both do at least 2" at 50 yds.
Don ;)

April 9, 2005, 11:09 AM
I've used round balls in two different Old Army's, and get full-cylinder, six shot groups at 25 yards measuring well under 2", center to center. With conicals, the groups look more like shotgun patterns, not to mention that conicals are a pain in the arse to load. There isn't much room under the ram to fit a conical in the first place, and trying to get a flat base bullet to start in a non-chamfered chamber mouth is... challenging.

Range shooting with six loaded chambers is OK, but for carrying, I'd only load five, unless your revolver of choice has indexing slots in the cylinder, like the Old Army has, for safely carrying six loaded chambers and the hammer down in the slot between them.

April 9, 2005, 11:17 PM
As was mentioned above..Lee molds made a set especially for the Ruger Old Army. The base of the slug was rebated..so it will self-align when set in the chamber.allowing plenty of room under the ram. I have never experinced any "canting"of the slug..with the base self aligning and the round nose of the slug centered in the cup of the ram. And from the evidence of shaving..when seating the slugs home..it goes without saying..a larger "bearing surface" can only help with the accuracy. In my experince with my two Old Armys..the pure cast lead slugs have been extremely accurate.if you work with the loads your Ruger prefers.

April 17, 2005, 01:52 PM
both the lee and the buffalo fit the rammer cup fairly precisely and the bullet seats in a straight line. I wrote the review mentioned above and not that I left out that the cross hatched area was for retention of bullet lube. I've done a bit more shooting with the .36 since the review and tried 18 grains of Swiss fffg. This got 976 fps velocity.

I've ordered some .457s especially sized for the ruger old army as I am expecting one on loan for t&e. My current experience with the old army is having been beaten by one in a local cap and ball match with one about 25 years ago. Trustworthy and other reports say that they have gotten good accuracy with bullet type projectiles in the old army. Fivegunner had an oa made up in .50 caliber with the rammer cut for a special semi wadcutter bullet of 250 grains. This one is very accurate.